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August 22, 2016

The Bookseller

The BooksellerThe Bookseller

By: Cynthia Swanson

What if? Two simple words at the center of The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson. Swanson takes the reader back and forth between two different lives of an ordinary woman.

Our heroine is Katharyn “Kitty” Miller. She’s in her late thirties, lives alone in her Denver apartment, and owns a bookstore with her best friend. It’s the early 1960s, and she is obsessed with the fashions of the Kennedy Whitehouse and the newest best sellers in her store. Kitty’s life has fallen into a comfortable routine of work, books and quiet nights alone with her cat. Nothing seems out of place – yet.

On a random night everything Kitty knows about her life is completely upended. She wakes up in a strange bedroom with a handsome man by her side. Moments later, two beautiful children run into her arms and call her “Momma”. Surely this is a dream, right? Then why does it feel so real?

For weeks Kitty’s dreams take her to a house she’s never seen and a family she never knew she wanted. Her husband, Lars, is the stereotypical perfect husband. He’s attractive, has a high-paying job, helps her with the children and loves her unconditionally. Unable to get her dreams out of her head, Kitty starts researching Lars, her dream house and even the park where her children play. She becomes obsessed. After weeks of dreams, reality blurs for Kitty and she reflects on what (and who) is important to her. She has to decide which reality she’ll stay in, questioning the old adage – is the grass really greener on the other side?

The Bookseller is pretty impressive for a first novel, with fast pacing and characters worth reading. I devoured this book and was satisfied with the ending. The first person narrative gives the reader the perfect glimpse into Kitty’s worlds, and ultimately her heart.

Looking for more “what if” moments? Check out these novels: Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver, The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes, and One Day by David Nicholls.

Review By:  Kirsten Edwards